DIY Battery Pendant Light: No Outlet Required!

8 Materials
2 Days

When designing my girls’ bedroom recently, I ran into an issue with needing to add a lamp where there was no outlet nearby. Has that ever happened to you? This frustrating situation is all too common!

So, what are you supposed to do when you need a light, but the nearest outlet is across the room? Easy — DIY a battery-powered pendant light!  Here's how to make a glamorous gold dipped version for less than $10.

Mix glue and water

The base of this pendant lamp will be similar to a yarn globe lamp. Typically, you'd mix glue and water at a 1:1 ratio but you'll want to create a translucent shell in this case to act as a diffuser. So for this lamp, mix a 2:1 ratio of glue to water. 

Drop the jute string into the glue mixture

Next, drop the ball of jute string into the container of glue and water. As you pull the string out to wrap the play ball, it will pick up a generous coat of glue.

Note: You won’t end up using all of the string but if you make the glue and water mixture in a plastic screw top container, you can save it for another project!

Draw a guide on your ball

To keep everything centered, use the inflation hole as the center point for the top opening of the shade.

Then, measure down from the center seam of the ball and make a dot every few inches around the entire circumference.

Finally, connect those dots. This is where the bottom edge of your shade will be.

For mine, I used an 8.5″ play ball and marked 2″ down from the center seam of the ball.

Wrap the ball with the string

Using the glue-soaked jute string, wrap your ball in a random, overlapping pattern. 

The shade will rest on top of the puck light, so you need to leave an opening at the top large enough to pass the hanging string through but smaller than the circumference of your puck light.

I opted to do this tight coil pattern at the top to mask the light casing, but that’s purely a preference thing.

At the bottom, try to generally align your string to the mark you made around the ball. We want the shade to be an organic shape, so basically symmetrical is good enough. Don't worry about perfection.

Let dry for 24-48 hours

Set the ball on a small bowl and put someplace out of the way. Be sure the bowl is small enough that the string isn't touching it, otherwise, the shade will dry stuck to the bowl.

Deflate or pop the ball

Once the jute string is completely dry, pop or deflate the play ball. 

Once the ball has deflated, it will pull away from the shade mostly on its own. Gently pull the ball away from any areas that are still stuck (it will come away very easily).

The glue shell will have some holes — that’s what you want! We’re going for sort of a wasp nest look, like something you’d find in a garden or in the woods.

Glue string to the puck light

Starting at the outside edge, hot glue the jute string in a tight coil on the bottom of the puck light. 

You won’t see much of this piece, so if your glue work is a little messy (like mine) it’s totally ok.

Aim to end the coil as close to the center as possible. This is the only step where I’d urge precision. The closer to the center it is, the straighter the pendant light will hang.

The string that’s now attached to the puck light will be threaded from the underside of the shade, through that top opening you created.

The shade will rest on the light and gravity will hold it in place. When you need to change the batteries, you can just slide the shade up to access the puck light!

Spray paint the shade gold (optional)

Spray the pendant light shade gold. This step is optional since most of the lamp will end up covered in gold leaf, but I like the depth of color the gold on gold treatment adds.

Cover the shade entirely in gold leaf

Use a spray adhesive to attach the gold leaf. This isn't the traditional way to apply gold leaf, but the spray adhesive gets into all the nooks and crannies that might be difficult to reach with a brush.

Spray a small section of the shade with the adhesive and begin to attach the gold leaf. Take care not to touch the leaf if you can help it (it sticks to everything and tears easily).

Gently fold back one of the separating sheets of paper and hold the entire book of gold by the folded end. Press the gold leaf onto the sticky surface of the shade, still holding on to the whole book.

If the leaf tears at this point it’s fine. You just want to get as much of it onto the shade as possible.

Use a chip brush to press and tap the gold leaf into all the cracks and crevices then gently brush off the excess leaf.

Continue with this process until your entire shade is covered.


Once the shade is covered in gold leaf, thread the pauck light back through the top opening and hang. This is very light weight so you could tie it to a cup hook screwed into the ceiling, onto a more decorative hook -- basically anywhere.

I think it would be such a cool statement above a desk or a dining room table to supplement to the other ceiling lights in the room.

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 8 questions
  • Flower girl
    on Jul 19, 2020

    You show two balls in the works. Did I miss something? Did you use both?

      on Jul 19, 2020

      I made two of these pendants at the same time so that's why you see two balls in some of the picture. You only need one ball per lamp!

  • Joanne Giddings Pittman
    on Jul 20, 2020

    Love this project!! I see artificial green vine in a couple of pictures but not mentioned in the instructions. Did I miss this part?

    • Joanne Giddings Pittman
      on Jul 20, 2020

      Thanks for your reply Brianna! I thought that you may have glued the vines on and put gold leaf over them for more depth so I appreciate your answer. Really cute lamps!

  • Donna
    on Jul 20, 2020

    does this give off enough light to be able to read by?

      on Jul 20, 2020

      It does! As long as you locate it to shine generally in the spot where you're going to read. It's not going to cast a wide circumference of ambient light, but my kids read by it at night very easily because I placed it right above the head of the bed.

Join the conversation

4 of 17 comments
  • Maude LaFountain
    on Jul 19, 2020

    This is really cute I love it !!...Great job

  • Susan
    on Jul 20, 2020

    Thanks for clarification. I understand reasoning but it seems removing the ball from the glued twine could be difficult. denying they are absolutely stunning. As in "Architectural Digest" stunning! - Susan

      on Jul 20, 2020

      Thanks Susan!!! That's so nice of you to say. I completely understand being skeptical about the ball, but once you deflate it it really does come away easily. My 8-year-old did one of them herself!

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